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Posts Tagged ‘Music & Travel’

Our Song…

Posted on: February 14th, 2013 by R.W. Hampton 3 Comments

So yesterday I asked the folks on Facebook if they had a special song with their “sweetheart” and of course to share what it was.

I love to read the answers and why people love a song. A lot of it has to do with timing…   If you fell in love in the 60’s your speical song is more likely to be from Sonny & Cher than from George Strait.  There is also the matter of what you danced to when dating or what made your heart sing when you were married.  Timing is everything.

Our song has a lot to do with timing too.  And, mind you, not all timing is good timing….

You see, Lisa and I had been friends for several years but when the magic happened things moved along pretty quick. We were both single parents doing the second-time around romance long-distance so if truth be told we really came to a point where we couldn’t afford to keep dating and paying all our money to phone bills and airline companies.

Yes, fall was in the air and Lisa was going to meet me and my boys in Fort Worth that October where I was playing Red Steagall’s Cowboy Gathering.  I mustered up all of my confidence as well as what little was left of my pocketbook and headed for the nearest mall with a jewelry store the week before the Gathering.

Lisa flew down to Fort Worth where my trusty side-kick, my brother Jeff, picked her up from the airport and brought her to the Stockyards.  She looked as pretty as ever, so with the ring in my pocket we spent the day with my family enjoying the event,  and me nervously waiting for the right moment to pull her aside and pop the question.

After dinner we all walked back to the big tent where Red and his Bunkhouse Boys were puttin on quite a dance.  “Ahhh, here is the place.” I thought.  We watched the dancers for a while then I turned to my friend JB Allen & his wife and asked if they would keep an eye on the boys for a moment while we danced.  Well, JB knew something was up so of course he wanted to stick around for the spectatin’.

Ammassing all my will power I ushered Lisa onto the dance floor and we swirled around the tent until I finally gathered enough courage to stop in a corner, and on one knee, I asked my very surprised sweetheart what she was doing for the rest of her life.  Without missing a beat she gave the answer that every nervous man hopes to hear, “Following some ol’ cowboy around!”. It was then I slipped the ring on her finger and said “Welcome to Texas!”

And…., then, as the song ended and we were making our way back to JB, Margaret, and the boys, Lisa paused and said the words I will never forget….  “Oh, I want to remember this moment forever Sweetie… What song were they just playing?”

It was at that moment that “our song” was created.  And it just so happened that Red and the Boys, which happened to magically include all the living Texas Playboys that night, were playing an old blues standard… “Misery” sung by none other than the great vocalist Leon Rausch.

Timing….. it is everything.  I can assure you, we laugh about it now, but we will never forget it!

Happy Valentines everyone. From our house to yours, we wish you a wonderful day wherever you are.

Jiggity Jig

Posted on: May 8th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 4 Comments

 

Wyoming 2012

Home again, home again, jiggity jig…

Whoever wrote that certainly wasn’t returning from almost THREE full months on the road with two kids.  It was more like “Home again, home again, collapse at the door…”

Yes, three (3) months.  What started as a two year commitment to travel with the kids and homeschool them has, over the past three months, turned into a true once-in-a lifetime adventure we never could have imagined.  I can say in all honesty that given the opportunity, I would do it all over again.  But, if you had showed me last fall a map and calendar of what 2012 was shaping up into, I think I probably would have chickened out. 

Maybe that’s why God doesn’t lay out everything He has in store for us all at once.  Consider all the things we would miss in life when the mountain in front of us looks too high to climb.

Well, I guess that brings me back here, home after almost three full months traveling in an SUV on the road with two very active and energetic young boys.  And where is here?  Well, it’s a state of exhaustion, amazement, enlightenment, and sheer awe at all the truly wonderful things and people we met and visited along the way. 

 Elko 2012

We began the adventure at the end of January with a trip back to the annual National Cowboy Poetry & Music Festival in Elko, Nevada.  Neither of these boys had been to Elko and I hadn’t been back with R.W. in years.  The best thing about Elko and its legendary gathering – it never changes.  It is pure “cowboy” in so many ways and yet it constantly seeks to show how our culture is so connected to similar cultures and people from around the world who are so very different but have much in common.  The artistry displayed, heard and shared at Elko is like nowhere else; a venerable feast for the cowboy (or cowgirl) spirit.  Buckaroos, cowpunchers, vaqueros, ranchers, friends, fans, family – they all gather for one week to experience the expression of that spirit and to feed their own souls with music, poetry, stories, art, culture, and friends.

Two days up to Elko through Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada, a four day stay for the gathering, then another two days back home.  The following week at home flew by with doctor appointments, business meetings, church meetings, a Boy Scout banquet that required a cake and table center-piece, car tune up and oil change, surgery on a sick horse, and setting up everything for the five-week trip we were about to embark upon. Not to mention the usual stuff that goes on like home-school, music business, ranch chores, and dealing with a winter storm.

Tennessee 2012

Then it was off to the East! With the excitement of a new adventure we loaded up and pointed the SUV towards Texas. And then Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee where we started out the musical portion of the trip in Nashville with R.W. filming a couple of music videos right down on Music Row.  The next day R.W. was invited to a singer-songwriter night at Douglas Cafe and connecting with both new friends (including the up-and-coming new group The Henningsens (who have written several top hits for The Band Perry), and old friends (like cowboy partner Dave C. who manages Charlie Daniels, and fellow Savannah Music artist, Michelle Wright).  No matter what industry you are in, it is always great re-connecting with the folks you hope to work with in the future. 

From Nashville it was off to Pigeon Forge for a four day festival called Saddle Up (one of our personal favorites!), then down to Chattanooga, farther south to Georgia, back up to Chattanooga, over to South Carolina, up to North Carolina, and then Virginia for over a week at the Williamsburg Film Festival. From there we headed back West through West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma… You get the picture.

Inside Raccoon Mtn, TN 2012

TN. Racoon Mtn.2012

Along the way we went caving in Chattanooga, had a blast at Rock City, visited Wade Hampton III’s homes in Columbia, SC.

Pillars remain at WadeHamptonIIIs.2012

We toured historic Jamestown and Williamsburg, where we all spent some time in the stocks.  The boys and I spent an afternoon at the beach on the Atlantic side of America and even got to watch the regal USS Enterprise ship out on her final deployment before she is decommissioned.

In the Stocks in Williamsburg.2012

Somewhere along the way we toured the Great Smoky Mountains, Monticello, Greenbrier Resort, Churchill Downs and the majestic Gateway Arch in St Louis, Mo among other things.

Monticello.Spring2012.photo by Denver Crowder

The Boys on the steps of Monticello

Jefferson's Gardens.2012

You might think that after those five weeks a little rest was in order, but no, thankfully R.W. had another job waiting for him in Texas the next weekend to help pay for all our fun!  So after five days of “rest” and unpacking, repacking, ranch repairs, another car tune-up, and several kids’ activities it was time to load up and head back to Northeast Texas for another five days on the road.  (Thankfully for me, this was an “all male event” so I was able to stay home and at least get the laundry caught up!)

Home again, home again, jiggity jig… for another five day stretch of rest, repairs, and repacking then off to West Texas to our daughter’s hometown to celebrate  Easter with her, her husband, their two boys, and a bunch of his side of the family.  Not a bad little trip at all but we were starting to feel the miles each time we clicked those seatbelts on.

Driving... some more

After a big four day rest it was off again! Destination: Kansas… in tornado season no less.  As the weather reports started warning of one of the biggest storm systems in current history R.W. and one of the boys loaded back up for what our son was convinced was going to be a “really exciting” trip to see a tornado.  Fortunately for me, as I was a nervous wreck waiting at home, the excitement didn’t turn out like he had hoped and the event which was to be held outdoors at a local riding arena was moved to a theater downtown that also doubled as a storm-shelter.  Unfortunately, for the good folks putting on the event, the attraction of holding the concert in a location that doubled as a storm shelter still wasn’t enough to convince a good portion of those who had planned on attending to leave their homes and brave the unknown forecasted weather.

With the excitement behind them the boys returned home with a little less jiggity jig for a whopping two day rest.  With over twenty states covered in less than 2 1/2 months it was time to complete the circle of the Central United States by heading west again, this time to Santa Clarita, California just north of Los Angles.

As we once again loaded suitcases, CDs, a plastic crate of our school books & lesson plans, R.W.’s guitar, hats, boots, a few toys, a box of office work I hoped to finish, and assorted drinks, snacks and cell phones I had to laugh at how we had managed to perfect our use of space. Even our five year old knew the drill by heart and loaded without complaint.  (Of course it didn’t hurt that there were a few days set aside for family fun at Disneyland ahead either!)

Goofy and Ethan being... goofyThe next 13 days included travel days across New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California; a quick visit to one of our sons who is stationed at the Twenty-Nine Palms Marine Base; several days at the annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Music Festival, two days in the recording studio working on some new songs, a visit to Disneyland with four generations of our family present, an afternoon visiting the Grand Canyon, and the drive back across Arizona and New Mexico. 

 The Grand Canyon.2012

Yes, by the time we got back late last Monday night our jiggity jig was completely gone.  But can you imagine missing all or any of that?  What an adventure! What a great experience for our boys!  What memories we have made!  What fantastic things they have learned and people they have met!

So, another week at home and although it was full of unpacking, repacking, shipping orders, homeschool, cleaning house, cleaning up the yard, and end of the school year activities we seem to have gotten our jiggity jig back so we head out again for Texas this afternoon.  Each time it’s been a little harder to load up and drive off, but we won’t ever have the chance to make those miles and memories again, so why not? 

Our travel times with our youngest boys won’t last forever so we cherish these trips plus it’s even more fun having you along for the ride. And, essentially we owe it all to you, because without you and your support we wouldn’t have the chance to share this wonderful country without children this way. Without you, R.W. would just be a great voice singing around the campfire in some remote cow-camp.  I can’t imagine our life without you, so I’m so glad you have not only joined us on our adventure – but you are the whole reason for it!

Thanks!  The Hamptons, Lisa, R.W., and of course, “the boys”

Taking Time Out

Posted on: January 19th, 2012 by Lisa Hampton 8 Comments
January Evening Skies- photo by Lisa

January Evening Skies here in New Mexico

Does life ever get so crazy that you don’t know whether you are coming or going?  Ever get that small voice in the back of your mind saying “Umm, and how exactly do you expect to get all this done?”

It’s been one of those weeks here.

Up early, trying to fit in a little exercise time before starting the day’s chores, catch up on the weather and news & check emails, then it’s time to get breakfast going and roust the boys for schoolwork (all before 7:30 am). Then it’s back to the computer to try to answer a few emails and phone calls while R.W. does a bible study with the boys.

From 8:30 to noon it’s a balancing act of 5th grade and kindergarten lessons while R.W. does ranch chores and practices his music, a short break for lunch and a few minutes outside to lend R.W. a hand with winter projects he is working on here at the ranch, then it’s time to get the boys back to their schooling, fix dinner, do a couple of loads of laundry, straighten up the living room and kitchen from the day’s studies (yes, the books seem to end up everywhere in the winter as we gather by the fire most of the day.)

Most evenings as soon as the dinner dishes are cleared and washed, the nightly ritual of putting kids to bed is upon us.  We haven’t had TV reception in years but on the occasional night we all finish early we like to play games or curl up and watch a movie as a family.  Almost every evening one of us will read a chapter or two of a book of the boy’s choice before it is “lights out” for them somewhere between 8:30 and 9 PM.  That leaves roughly an hour or two for me to tackle whatever else awaits on my desk or in my kitchen before we fall into bed.  And there really isn’t ever enough time to get it all done.

But tonight, amidst our last lessons R.W. came in and announced – “School is OUT!  You all HAVE to come outside right now!”

 

Sunset at Clearview Ranch Jan 19, 2012

Sunset behind the Sangres

Well, he was right, as usual.  No matter what was going on it was one of those moments that time stands still and as we stood there as a family our New Mexico sky turned oranges, pinks, violet, vivid reds, and deep turquiose blues.

Thank you God, for the wonderful reminder of why we live here in this land.

Thank you for giving us moments when time stands still, moments we can share with our children and thank you so much for the beauty that is uniquely your creation.

Thank you God, for making us take time out.

I wish my photos could do justice to the changes in colors, they really don’t, but I wanted to take time out of our crazy week and share the moment with you.

And I want to thank you, for riding this trail with us, no matter how busy we are, we always love to hear from you.

Love you all,

Lisa, R.W. and the boys

 

Low in the Snow

Posted on: December 13th, 2011 by R.W. Hampton 6 Comments

 

Corgi

Well winter’s sure set in here at Clearview Ranch. While the boys and I were gone to Texas on our last road trip, my wife offered to babysit our good friend Shelly’s two Corgi dogs.  Neither of the pooches are house-broke so Lisa made them a home in our backyard. 

And then it snowed. Over six inches. 

Now that I’m home and my gigs for the year have wrapped up, it’s time to take my pencil and paper in hand and get back to writing songs. But, to be quite honest, here lately I’ve lacked inspiration. Between a flu bug I picked up at the Western Music Awards which lasted a month and a root canal on Thursday, I haven’t really had much to write about that would make good song material. That was until today when I spent the afternoon in the back yard chopping wood and after watching our two visitors try to make a home in snow that is 3 inches deeper than their legs are, I think I finally have some inspiration. 

So how about a new Christmas song that goes something like:

It’s Christmas time and my credit card won’t go/ I’m feeling low/ Like a Corgi in the snow

What do ya think? Is it a Nashville hit in the making? 

I think I’m feeling better already! 

Merry Christmas!  – RDub

Do you have a line that I can add to this? or have any better ideas I should be working on here? Send me your Christmas inspirations!

 

Veteran’s Day thoughts… For Those Who Have Signed the Dotted Line

Posted on: November 11th, 2011 by Lisa Hampton 3 Comments

If you have been a fan of R.W. Hampton music for longer than, well, let’s say 4 minutes, (which is the amount of time it takes to listen to most of his songs), you know that R.W. is feverishly patriotic.

Yes, patriotism runs deep in the Hampton family and days like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day are not merely for putting out the flag, but a time when we pause to honor those around us who have served our nation or are currently serving. 

On these special days we get a chance to stand up and thank those around us who have signed that dotted line saying “America, I’m yours.  I will stand up and fight for you, your citizens, your government, your flag and all that it stands for.  Regardless of whether I like that government, those citizens, or the cause I have been sent to accomplish.  Because as an American, I believe that in the end, right will win; evil will be conquered; freedom will reign and my family, my country, and my fellow soldier/marine/sailor/airman needs me.”     

Yes, these are special days.  Not just to honor men like these.

Members of the US Navy in Pacific Theater - WWII                    And these.        Sgt G Meisner, 2/9 Fox Co

 

But also these.                        2/9 Golf Co Ar Ramadi 2009

And women like these.   WAAC WWII

 

Violet Askins aka Violet Hill Gordon

Women Soldiers in AfghanistanAnd these… 

They are what make our country great. 

It’s what’s inside them.  They know that they were willing to stand up for their country and sign that dotted line. Willing to face our enemies in that  moment of battle and know the courage it takes.

Neither R.W. nor I have done this.  Signed the dotted line.  Faced our enemies across a battlefield.  

Brig General TC Lyster - Theodore C. Lyster is a familiar name to aerospace medicine physicians. His early recognition of the unique physical requirements of aviators, the specialized training necessary for flight surgeons, and the need for altitude physiology research provided the foundation on which the specialty of aviation medicine was built. Lyster's medical career, however, encompassed much more than aviation medicine. From his earliest assignment as a contract physician in Cuba in 1899 until his entry into private practice in 1921, he was heavily involved with the fight against yellow fever. In the era before medical residencies were commonplace, Lyster sought out training in ophthalmology and otolaryngology in the U.S. and abroad. His clinical and organizational abilities made him a valuable asset during the construction of the Panama Canal and during World War I. Lyster's many talents and his philosophy about aviation medicine make him a worthy role model for flight surgeons today.

Brig General TC Lyster, 1875 - 1933da

 

Army, Navy, Air Force & Marines. 
Our fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers, and our oldest son, Cooper, have all signed it. 
Lieutenant General Wade Hampton III, 1818 - 1902

Lieutenant General Wade Hampton III, 1818 - 1902

For as R.W. said to me one day, “My greatest disappointment in life as an adult is that I will never know if I had it inside me to do what they have done; to face what they have faced and to know that I did my part for my country.”

And so, although we are not Veteran’s ourselves, our part now is to support and honor these men and women who are.  To encourage them, to enlighten our community to their sacrifices, and to keep their memories alive; this is our job now. 

 God bless everyone of our Veterans.  We go to sleep tonight safe because at one point you had the courage to sign that dotted line.

OXO – Lisa H.

Of Men, Music, and the Land

Posted on: May 17th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 1 Comment

I went to town the other day to get a haircut before I flew to Florida for the weekend.

As usual, our little barber shop was busy, so I got in line behind about a dozen or so other men who were waiting for Ruben to work his magic.

Now in order to paint a clear picture of my world, let me say that when you are the best barber in a huge county of about ten thousand people, you are always busy.

As I hung my hat and coat, I exchanged howdys with everyone and took a seat to wait my turn in Ruben’s chair.

I shuffled through the stack of girlie and hunting magazines.

Not seeing anything interesting, I decided to settle in and listen to the talk. Some in Spanish, some in English, and some in what we refer to as Spanglish.

After listening for what seemed like forever, I came to the realization that I never before had considered how little I had in common with these men.

Different cultures, races, languages, tax brackets, and religions.  The only thing I could see we had in common was that we were all men in need of a haircut.

Now Old Ruben is a music lover from way back. As a result, he’s always had an old guitar that he keeps on top of the pop machine in the corner. Many’s the time that Ruben has asked, “Hey RdubbleU, how about a song while you wait?”

One time I went in with my boys, and by the time we all got a haircut, I discovered I was a little shy of what I owed him. Ruben doesn’t take credit or debit cards, but he will take a song.  So, at two bucks short and a song being worth a nickel, I am, and have been, indebted to my barber for quite some time.

On this particular day, I went and grabbed that old guitar upon request and started to play and sing. Ruben loves Marty Robbins songs, so I played “I Walk Alone.” One of the other fellas asked if I knew “Cowboy in the Continental Suit.” I played that and some others and then handed the guitar to an old man who played “El Rancho Grande” and “De Colores.”

An old cowman from the Canadian River Canyon up around Roy, New Mexico, got to his feet and did a little jig to that ancient old tune while the other men laughed and clapped. Someone remarked that he was in his nineties!  The old cowman replied that he was destined for Dancing with the Stars.  And so it went, for the better part of an hour, until it came my time for a haircut.

I looked across this tiny shop and noticed that the faces that once had been courteous, but indifferent, had warmed. We all had a good laugh when one of the wives came in to tell her husband it was time to go home.  She said she had dragged him out of the saloon many times, but never the barber shop!

When Ruben was done, I left a ten on the counter, grabbed my hat and coat, and said adios.

Heading back to the ranch, I hummed “El Rancho Grande” as I drove and had to laugh at how wrong I had been.  We share so much in common, these men and I.  Our bond is a love for music.

But much more than that, it is a love for music about the land, this land, our land!

The Start of Something New

Posted on: April 19th, 2010 by R.W. Hampton 8 Comments

Welcome to the start of something new.

As with most things new, it’s a humble start. I say that because I’m writing this not from my ranch office, but rather while I’m sitting on an overturned five-gallon bucket in our corral.

Why? Because one of our mares is going to give birth (or “foal,” as we say) at any time! So I’m here, purely in an advisory capacity this evening, to make sure everything goes as nature planned. It seems fitting, though, that while ol’ Molly is working on something new, so am I. And while I have no idea what kind of colt she’ll raise or what it will become, I’m just as unsure what my little “blog” will grow up to be.

It’s kind of exciting every now and then to head up a new trail just to see where it goes. Well, that’s what I’m doing here and I’d consider it an honor if you’d see fit to come along.

I’m gonna call my “baby” Notes From Clearview Ranch. See, my home, Clearview, sits at an elevation of well over 6000 feet. Looking north and west and south, I stand in the shadows of the mesas and snow capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains. To the east, I look out across an endless rolling prairie that I can best describe as an ocean of grass. So this “big” view gives me a unique perspective. Certainly it’s not the only view, but it is my view.

That’s sort of what I want to do with this blog; give you my perspective or view on the everyday things we all deal with in life. It certainly won’t be the only view, and may not be your view, but it will be uniquely mine.

So there you have it. Notes from Clearview Ranch is born today. As for Molly the mare’s baby? I’m still waiting!